Clinton, Trump visits show USF as a candidate magnet
Looking for a presidential rally to attend? The University of South Florida is the place to be.
Donald Trump visited the school in February and Hillary Clinton rolled onto campus Tuesday, addressing about 1,500 people at the Campus Recreation Center.
"I am always happy when a university is doing such a superb job in preparing the next generation of students," Clinton said. "I think that a lot of what you do here is a model in higher education."
There are a few reasons why USF is such a popular stomping ground for politicians.
"Of all the universities and colleges in the area, it's the biggest and most diverse," said political scientist Susan MacManus, who teaches at the university. "She is reaching a broad network."
In addition, USF is in Florida's top television market and speaking here gives candidates the opportunity to connect with younger voters who record or live stream such events through social media.
"I figured at some point she would come to our campus," said student body president Chris Griffin.
He pointed out there was some confusion over why she chose to have the event in the gym, which only fit about 1,500 people. Trump, on the other hand, held his rally at the USF Sun Dome, with room for more than 10,000.
Despite the heat on Tuesday, dozens of students waited outside of the recreation center. Occasionally, cheers from inside could be heard through the closed doors.
"I'll take any chance to see a presidential rally," said Catherine Law, a 23-year-old graduate student from Scotland. "I don't know why they didn't just do it in the Sun Dome."